CRM is often castigated for its failures. It used to be companies would buy something like Siebel Systems (now owned by Oracle), only to find a few years later that it still wasn’t actually ready for salespeople to use.
When I ran SalesLogix, our ofﬁces were in a Nationwide Insurance building. In the late 90‘s, Nationwide tried to implement Siebel for its 5,000 salespeople. The implementation project lasted a few years. After the CIO was fired, the new CIO was interviewed and stated that the project had ﬁnally been scrapped – after spending over $110 million dollars and still never having actually used Siebel at all.
That was not unusual for CRM. Still isn’t.
Does your CRM pass the Sales Team Test?
Because of browser-based software, CRM is definitely easier to get running today. More often than not you can get up and running in hours, if not minutes. That is unquestionably a huge improvement over old client server software. But, the software still has to pass a critical test if it is going to succeed. Salespeople HAVE to like using it. If it’s not useful to sales teams, it’s just more work for them – and that’s exactly where most CRM systems fail.
To be clear, it’s never been an issue of not enough features. In fact, most products today are actually feature rich. Too many, maybe – lots of features, but light on benefits. At least for sales teams, anyway. The truth is, I think most of it is simply “bloatware.” It seems like it can do almost anything, or at least that’s how it’s sold to management. Think about it, CRM is usually sold with the promise that management will know everything salespeople are doing, and be able to manage, forecast, and analyze virtually everything going on in sales. But how does any of that help a sales team sell? It doesn’t. And the data that management HOPED would be there, isn’t. That’s failure.
More on that in my next blog post.
We really believed there had to be an alternative. There had to be an upgrade path for all the people who were using low end products and were dissatisfied with that. And they knew they needed more. But then they looked at these very large, very expensive products and the chasm was huge.
They could not make that jump. So we wanted to make a product that these people, at the low end, could readily move up to. And have a product that’s totally an alternative to the high end products, which nobody likes, and nobody is actually using.